Dreams – A Review

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The premise

While Dreams was only released on PSVR on 22nd July 2020, it is not a new concept or experience. However, what is new is the introduction of VR tools in the suite of tools available, which allow you to make your own creations. In some ways, the reason for Dreams to exist as an experience and it must have been heartbreaking to have to delay the VR release on PlayStation after being released in other formats.

Let’s get down to what the concept actually is. The game is called Dreams for a reason, it is about taking the strange thoughts and ideas (or dreams) that we have and realise these in the virtual world. You use all the tools to create your world and have the ability to explore the world of others. This is not a two-dimensional experience were content is delivered to you. It is not a television show, as there is a feeling you are inside the world helping to create it.

You use tools to create imagery, movement, music and more to combine to create your world for other users to explore. There is a playlist included and lots of predesigned objects to place.

The vital details

Release Date: PSVR 22nd July 2020
Casual, Building,
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
Developer: Media Molecule
Publisher: SIE
Supports: PSVR
Play area: seated, standing
Input: gamepad, motion controllers
Comfort level: Comfortable

The opinion

The gameplay

The point of VR is to immerse your senses and your emotions in a place. Therefore, while not a game, Dreams is the sort of experience that should be on a platform like PSVR. Taking a journey in the game helps you leave the fundamentally dull routine of life. You enter the ever-expanding universe and travel through the imaginations of others, as well as yours.

There is a set of content that comes with the VR pack, which is called Inside the Box. However, the point of Dreams is not to explore pre-created content but to use the tools to create your own. The tools and the content they could produce have been designed side by side though; therefore, although the provided content is not the core experience, it shows the potential of the tools. This provided content is called inside the box for the reason that the consumer should believe that they can go beyond this – outside the box.

The provided material is not narratively driven, it is just a journey where you watch the place you are travelling through. It feels a lot like a weird three-dimensional, multi-sensory art gallery. There is no gameplay Inside the Box, there is just a wonderful experience to wander around.

However, once outside this box, the user has the freedom to create whatever experiences they wish. So, if they want to create a shooting gallery rather than an art gallery, then this is possible with the Dreams VR tools. The creating of this gameplay is a wonderful part of the experience, as you have to consider some really subtle points like tracking and perspective.

The technical

You will only see the experiences in your headset that are marked as suitable for virtual reality. However, the use of comfort vignette, a teleportation based camera, means that a lot of content can exist in the VR space quite comfortably. The developers have worked hard to consider how the camera controls, the character controls, the cutscenes and the onscreen text will default to make sure the experience remains comfortable. The user will have the chance to tweak these defaults but within acceptable limited.

The strength of this experience is the choice to create a smooth and beautiful journey or to create a game-like, action-filled, shooter experience. You can begin with a purpose or you can just create a world that explores your imagination. You are creating for the sake of creating, wanting to make something beautiful in this 3D space.

Learning to work with the motion controllers will make the experience more powerful. When you sculpt, you use two hands to mould the clay of your creation. Therefore, although you can use the game controller, to fully appreciate the experience you need to swing your arms like the conductor of an orchestra. It is the difference between watching something in analogue versus watching something in HD, the clarity of experience is so much more powerful with the motion controllers.
Currently, skilled developers who look to work with Dreams will be able to create some sophisticated experiences for other users. However, one of the major shortfalls of this experience is that you have no way to publish your work. The only way other people can experience productions is if they are found within the virtual experience. This might dissuade some of the best creators to steer clear of this package.

Our brief takeaway

Every game or experience that has already been produced on the flatscreen console can be explored and played in VR if it is suitable for the experience. Therefore, you should not suffer from being the first to opt for this package. Users may have switched off the VR option when creating and they may have made their content exclusive, so you are not able to look at it. But, then you can make your project exclusion too. So, this is not the democratic open-world experience that would feel like a better choice.

What we love most is the smart comfort settings, which allow you to be sure that your game or world is comfortable for the VR users.

The potential for this package is huge. The quality of this game will be based on the usability of the tools designed by the developers. In this, so far so good?